The researchers further encouraged the use of CT as an aid in clinical decision making by reporting that regardless of whether the leading diagnosis changed, physicians with access to CT had substantially more diagnostic confidence.
The primary focus of the medical imaging industry has been to deliver solutions that can increase diagnostic confidence while focusing on improved patient outcomes. One such technology is dual energy CT imaging.
Ongoing research clearly demonstrates that dual energy utilization can provide additional diagnostic information in CT examinations. Previously this technology was available only on some of the industry’s most advanced scanners, limiting the routine use of this application in emergency department (ED) examinations. Today, the industry is working diligently to bring dual-energy approaches to a comprehensive range of CT scanners.
Consider how much more effective the ED diagnostic CT process could be with the immediate availability of dual-energy data to further improve clinical confidence. Routine abdominal acquisitions could be acquired with dual energy. For example, using a dual-energy approach for hyperdense abdominal lesions, which can be challenging to interpret, provides added information about the contrast media that was used, enabling physicians to characterize contrast uptake with iodine maps and add virtual non-contrast studies. These tools, which are immediately available when reviewing the dual energy data, provide valuable additive information about tissue characteristics that support clinical diagnosis and potentially reduce the need for follow-up CT procedures.
As the industry continues to pursue outcome-oriented health care results in a value-driven delivery system, CT has the potential to help improve clinical outcomes through the additional information obtained from a single dual-energy acquisition.
By acquiring new clinical information and potentially minimizing health care expense, dual-energy CT may be the next frontier in terms of providing value to the health care system by changing clinical pathways and, potentially, patient outcomes.
Douglas Ryan is the vice president, CT Business Line, Siemens Healthcare North America.